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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33968

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/26/2020

RE: Adult

Roy Agyei of Burgess Hill , Sussex Great Britain asks...

In the English Premier League, is the rule where a player is sent off if they commit a foul where the referee deems they made no attempt to play the ball or could not have any chance of playing the ball fairly still in existence? Granit Xhaka was sent off for this playing for Arsenal versus Swansea for a foul on the halfway line a couple of years back and seems to be the only player who was ever punished in this way. I have seen similar challenges or worse since then with only either a verbal warning, a yellow card or a second yellow card awarded since, rather than a straight red. Thank you.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Roy
In the Xhaka case the referee on the day opined that the challenge endangered the safety of an opponent with a cynical kick trip with no attempt to play the ball. Ultimately it is a judgement call by the referee what constitutes serious foul play. This is what Law 12 says "A tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent or uses excessive force or brutality must be sanctioned as serious foul play."
Referee Jon Moss decided that the challenge endangered the safety of an opponent. Personally I was of the view that it was a cynical challenge to stop the Swansea player and Xhaka hurt his opponent who could not have expected that. In fact the Swansea player took no further part in the game after the challenge so for me it ticked all the boxes for a red card.
Interestingly Arsenal did not decide to appeal the red card which says a great deal.
As to other similar challenges that were sanctioned with a ‘warning’ or a caution that is a matter for the referee on the day. It is impossible to bring complete unanimity to these situations. At the highest level where a referee has not sanctioned a player appropriately that can and does reflect on his assessment which can mean in some instances with repeated failure to sanction appropriately can result in demotion or lack of promotion.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Roy,
the LOTG still exist in that manner!
it is an opinion as to whether a referee deems an aggression is a delicate balancing act but player SAFETY MUST be the priority.

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